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The Rhône Rangers


I have just returned from Sainsburys after taking the wife shopping, four bottles left, now none, that’s the way to do it ! last time they had the 2015 on offer it disappeared overnight, but the trouble nowadays is restaurants look out for these sort of wines and buy the lot, it they can’t get them in one go because of quota restrictions it is not difficult to simply send someone else in to repeat the order.
We had a very good Co Op near our last house with a wine minded manager and they stocked some unlikely good wines for a Co Op whenever there was an offer you had to act quickly as the manager told me a couple of local restaurants would pounce and buy the lot, it’s a rat race out there :rofl:


Seemed to me too good a bargain to miss at £14.75 a bottle, just bought 6 online, he who hesitates is lost!

Thanks for the tip.


Nice if you can get them… In Scotland no discount for buying 6, Scottish Government saw to that. I was going to but 6 bottles of Tattinger NV for £21 a bottle, couldn’t collect from Tesco 6 miles away had to go to Carlisle 60 miles away deep in enemy territory :rofl: decided not to bother. No restrictions yet on deep fried haggis.


I reckon 2016 CNdP would go quite well with deep fried haggis! :stuck_out_tongue:


The Scottish Government Health Police will be at your door soon…


Has anyone tried the 2014 society’s exhibition hermitage by JLC? I would like to think it will give an insight to the style of JLC but would like to hear other people’s thoughts first. Thanks :slight_smile:


Assuming you mean the red? I tried it and liked it enough to purchase a bottle. Clearly still very young and I’m afraid I have no Chave frame of reference, but what it did taste like is a Hermitage (which I love) and a good one at that


Yes I meant the red. Thanks for you comments. Reassuring to have a positive review before buying.


Yes, have tried this now - it has depth and harmony, perfect for current drinking, a star buy at this price.


Liked it so much I’m gifting it for Christmas to business contacts.


A great business decision @Russ !

I’m increasingly inclined to the view that, now Cairanne has cru status, its wines will rapidly gain in reputation. Mini CNdP in many ways, but without the hype (and silly prices) of CNdP. They epitomise what southern Rhone reds are all about - herbs and spices, black fruit, iron fist in a velvet glove. But the growers there are rapidly learning how to make wines with with complexity and subtlety as well as power. WS have a great range - the wines of Delubac, Clos Romane and Escaravailles are all good.

I reckon they’re excellent value at present.


I mentioned this to J L-L who has been tasting Cairanne since The Great Flood!:open_mouth:
I made the point that he has only awarded 5 Stars a few times to a Cairanne wine, once in 2000, once in 2015 and once in 2016. the latter being a great S. Rhone vintage. He has never awarded 6 Stars to a Cairanne wine. Jeb Dunnuck’s highest score to date is 94/100.
I love the wines and I buy them, but unless one or more vineyards reach for the stars, invest and attract attention then they will never compete with CH9dP, Gigondas or even top CdR’s. :grinning:


I hope you’re right, @Taffy-on-Tour. Then I can continue to buy 6 year old Cairanne at £10.95, rather than CNdP at two to three times the price! :sun_with_face:


A few years ago when I first came across Cairanne and visited some domaines, I really agreed with the top billing. Now I put it in a different perspective. There are some very good domaines and very good wines from very good vineyards, but you have to be selective.

Even the top wines are not equal to the best CNDP or Gigondas but I think I prefer them to Vacqueras and Venise, which are other cru now.


If you’re throwing names around. Oratoire de St Martin are brilliant as is Alary( their cousins ). I have to say so far I’m not in love with the Dubulac or Escaravailles, they seem to lack finesse.
But I have a couple of each so maybe I’ll get round to a comparison over Christmas.


I think the southern Rhone crus are quite distinctive in a way. The eastern hills like Cairanne are never going to produce a wine with the depth of sweet, red fruit flavours of some CNDP. Cairanne will always be closer to Rasteau in terms of producing a more black fruited, spicy incarnation of Grenache. Some Rasteau - the gourt de martens wines and the top cuvees from Soumade - are now highly valued and very long lived, but they remain Rasteau. Saint Cosme Gigondas special cuvees from great years can sell for Rayas-like prices, but (so I understand!) they still taste like Gigondas. The two special cuvees at Vinsobres, the Perrin HdJ and Jaume CdE, are unique beasts again, with climate, terroir and techniques that resemble the northern Rhone applied to southern varietals.

The JLL insight piece for December points out that CNDP originally assumed its vaunted position because of head of the INAO also owning Chateau Fortia at CNDP, and Gigondas, a worthy rival, was blocked from Cru status until after his death. CNDP partly retains that position today because it is big enough to produce relatively large quantities of competent, potent and distinctive wine and thus retain a profile as a prestige wine in mass markets, as well as turning out high end wines like VT in relatively significant quantities. It is to the benefit of the enthusiast that however much the other crus develop at the top end (and Gigondas in particular shows the potential for this), their distinctions and attractions will remain relatively obscure, simply because of their size.


For me, the sheer size of CNdP is its achilles heel. Many of the negociant wines are poor value at £15-£20, no better than a good CdR. Even at the top end you have to be careful - a bit like burgundy, you can pay a fortune and still suffer disappointments.

JLL’s article is very prescient, he points out that Cornas took 30 years after achieving cru status to really take off, even with great sites and great winemakers, and I reckon that’s right. Even then, you need a Gerard Chave, Baron le Roy or Auguste Clape to front it up and drive it, be a poster boy (or girl) as well as a star winemaker and there is no sign of such a figure in Cairanne yet, I agree.


@RogoftheRhone I agree with the size of CNDP there’s so much poor blended stuff on supermarket shelves. I think that when people trade up from a CdR they don’t get the real deal. I’d much rather advise spending your money on a Cairanne or other “lesser” cru. For the same money your buying an individual domaines wine and generally it would be drinking better earlier.


To hop the thread back a week or so, just picked up 3 of these at a bargain of £13 a bottle using a voucher. I was tempted with 6 but anxiety kicked in that we didn’t have enough everyday Christmas wine and that someone would unknowingly crack open and sink a Hermitage without realising. Ended up with 3 of these, 2 Barossa Valley Estate Cabs and Journeys End Merlot (a thread yesterday reminded me that I do quite like Merlot but have virtually none of it in the cellar)

Interestingly they had 2016 and 2017 on the shelves - the first 2017 CNDP I’ve noticed


Yes Nick I noticed a couple of 2017’s snuck into the 2016’s sinards. Myself I topped up the half case with some contino reserva 2012, £16.50/bottle.